Friends of SBT
Friends of Salaam Baalak Trust is a UK registered charity. We support street children in India, primarily through the work of Salaam Baalak Trust itself in Delhi (SBT). SBT is a leading, award-winning Indian NGO with the scale and experience to make a real difference to thousands of children’s lives every year.
How we help
We raise funds for SBT’s work and help ensure those funds are used effectively.
We encourage and facilitate volunteering, sponsorship and other donations.
We raise awareness in the UK of the issues facing street children.
By operating entirely using volunteers in the UK and by tapping into the existing infrastructure of SBT and other organisations in Delhi, our formula ensures that donors' generosity is not wasted on administration, salaries or other overheads. Friends of SBT is committed to ensuring that all donations are spent directly on the children's well-being, a commitment to which the charity can hold itself with confidence.
How and what we support
Under UK charity law, the Trustees of Friends of SBT have an obligation to use our discretion in deciding which areas our money will support. We listen to the advice of SBT staff and Trustees in Delhi as to what is most needed at any stage; we draw our own judgments from visits to India; and we follow the progress of the schemes or programmes our funds have supported.
We are open in principle to funding any area, including running costs where this is appropriate. Many donors are unwilling for their funds to be used in this way, but none of SBT’s programmes can be delivered without significant expense on routine essentials such as monthly salaries, food and transport.
Here is more detail on what we have funded to date (end of 2015):
Contact Points are where hundreds of children every year first meet SBT staff and counsellors, whether they are newly arrived in the city or have already been living on the streets for a while.
GRP contact point at New Delhi station, where it all started back in 1988, still greets about 1,000 new children a year. Some have come hundreds of miles; some have run away; some have been orphaned or abandoned; some have been trafficked or given false hope of a brighter future. But these days SBT runs 18 other contact points, too.
We have been keen to support contact points, as they have a big impact on a large number of children’s lives for very low overheads. The interventions that contact point staff make on a daily basis to the children in most immediate need are always life enhancing and sometimes life saving. For a number of years, we have been funding the Old Delhi contact point.
For children who have come to live in SBT’s shelter homes and had their immediate needs met, enrolment in education is the single biggest thing that will give them a chance to thrive when they turn 18 and have to join a competitive world.
But SBT also provides valuable non-formal education, including on essentials such as health and life skills, to the larger number of children who either pass through briefly before returning to their families, or who have not yet been persuaded to give up their life on the streets.
For children with nowhere safe to go to, shelters provide an alternative home and family. From whatever age a particular child comes to a home until he or she turns 18, they are the base from where children can enrol in school as well as taking advantage of the arts, sports and other programmes that are run.
At any one time, about 300 to 400 boys and girls live in shelter homes like the one above (DMRC, the largest boys’ shelter) and below (Udaan, the newest girls’ home)
Support for individual children£5,165
We try to step in if a particular child living in a shelter home, or a young beneficiary who has recently left one, has specific needs for training or equipment that will help them pursue a goal but which can’t be met from SBT’s general funds. The main examples to date of this have been:
girls’ special education
For a number of years we paid for up to four girls from Arushi shelter home to have classes at a private institute to deal with dyslexia or similar learning difficulties.
Raju Thappa (multimedia)
We are pleased to have been able to continue our support for Raju, which started with a suitable computer when he was in his final years in a shelter home. As he develops his skills in animation and other aspects of multimedia we have stayed in touch and watch him begin to earn a living from his work.
Shrikant is a particularly talented musician as well as a, who had the added difficulty of having his legs smashed in a car accident. We were able to match funding raised by volunteers and other donors for a new guitar and amplifier.
As well as being a mature young man who became head boy in his school, Roshan is a talented sprinter. We have been happy to enable him to continue with athletics at a high level by providing running spikes and by facilitating a donor’s training shoes.
When school holidays coincide with the scorching heat of Delhi summers, children from shelter homes naturally love a chance to escape the city for a week or two, usually to a hill station.
But these trips are also open to street children, if they are regular visitors to one of the contact points. And counsellors welcome the chance that these tours give to build up the trust that can be needed to persuade children to leave the streets and come and live in a shelter home.
FoSBT has supported annual tours in past years for both the boys’ and girls’ shelters and for the children at contact points.
Hot, nourishing food to all the children in shelter homes. A basic need, especially given the alarming figures on under-nourishment among India’s children and the effect this has on their physical and mental growth.
SBT’s internal kitchens provide this food not just 3 times a day to the shelter homes, but also once a day to the many contact points it now runs across Delhi. At less than 20p for a meal, this is a cost-effective but very important element of the operation, and one that many donors overlook.